If you are looking for a really small Android smartphone today, you don’t have a large selection. Because while cell phones became smaller and smaller in the noughties, the opposite is true for smartphones today. Big displays dominate the well-known manufacturers. Small devices, on the other hand, are the domain of rather unknown providers.
A look at the display diagonal only reveals half the truth, namely that smartphones could actually get smaller and smaller. This is due to the advancing miniaturization of technology. As a result, among other things, the edges around displays are becoming increasingly narrow and it feels like 6-inch displays now fit into housings that previously housed at most 5-inch displays. To the chagrin of those who prefer small smartphones, manufacturers use the additional space for larger displays and not to build smaller devices.
But all is not lost. We have plunged into the depths of the Android world and have found it: Smartphones with displays up to a maximum of 4 inches and at least mid-range technology.
3 inches: Unihertz Jelly 2
The Unihertz Jelly 2 is one of the smallest Android 10 smartphones on the market, which surprises with its very useful equipment. The display measures 3 inches and has a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels. It thus offers a pixel density of over 300 ppi. Even small fonts look sharp on the tiny display.
It weighs 110 grams and measures 9.5 x 4.9 x 1.6 centimeters. This makes it smaller than a debit card, but thicker than many normal Android mid-range smartphones. Still, the narrow form factor is very impressive. The back is made of a glossy green plastic that clearly shows fingerprints. A film protects the display, and the Unihertz Jelly 2 also comes with a transparent protective cover.
Inside, a Helio P60 octa-core clocks at 2.0 GHz, supported by 6 GB of RAM. The mid-range processor ensures a sufficiently fast performance. The Jelly 2 has 128 GB of memory available, which can be expanded with a micro SD card.
Unihertz Jelly 2
Unihertz Jelly 2
The rear 16 megapixel camera is sufficient for snapshots in bright surroundings, but fails as soon as it gets dark. This is also due to the fact that the sensor does not have any optical image stabilization. If you want sharp pictures, you have to hold the device in your hand as calmly as possible while taking pictures. If you look at the pictures mainly on the small 3-inch display, you should be satisfied with the quality. The front camera has 8 megapixels and takes amazingly sharp selfies.
The battery of the Unihertz Jelly 2 has a capacity of 2000 mAh. With moderate use, you can get through the day well. With the Jelly 2, however, you don’t have a battery miracle in your hand. Additional features include dual SIM, GPS, fingerprint sensor, NFC, flashlight, USB-C, Bluetooth 4.2 and FM radio.
2.4 inches: Unihertz Atom
The 2.4-inch display of the outdoor-suitable Unihertz Atom is in a housing measuring 9.6 × 4.5 × 1.8 centimeters. It has a weight of 108 grams and despite its small size, a full Android 8.1 runs on the extremely small device. A solid-looking rubber coating should make the device insensitive to knocks and falls. It is also dust and waterproof according to IP68.
Surfing, watching videos, chatting – no problem at all. Only typing on the virtual keyboard of the 2.4-inch display, which has been shrunk to a minimum, poses a challenge for users with normal-sized thumbs. But even if our thumb easily covers two thirds of the keyboard, you can hit the letters you want with a little practice. However, there is no real joy.
The Unihertz smartphone solves with 432 [×] 240 pixels and thus come to a pixel density of a good 200 ppi. As a rule of thumb: From 300 ppi, no individual pixels can be seen at a normal distance from the display. Accordingly, clear blurring can be seen in the Unihertz Atom. Text, which is displayed quite small anyway because of the smaller display size, looks even more blurred than on larger displays with a similarly low pixel density.
The Unihertz Atom camera offers 16 megapixels at the rear and 8 megapixels at the front. Their pictures are okay, comparable to larger devices in the lower mid-range.
In use it turned out that the 2000 mAh battery of the Unihertz Atom was empty at the end of the day during normal use and had to be connected to the mains – a small disappointment. The battery took almost two hours to fully charge. This is unusually long for a small battery. After all, Unihertz relies on a future-proof USB-C connection for the Atom.
2.4 inches: Unihertz Jelly Pro
According to our research, the smallest Android smartphone is the Unihertz Jelly Pro from 2017. Its software with Android 7 is correspondingly old. It weighs only 60 grams and measures 9.2 × 4.3 × 1.3 centimeters. Unihertz even claims to have the smallest 4G smartphone in the world on offer. In contrast, the Unihertz Atom looks almost bulky.
The display seems to be the same that Unihertz uses on the Atom. However, the cameras are worse. The main camera has a resolution of 8 megapixels, the front camera with 2 megapixels. The quad-core processor with 1.1 GHz is supported by 2 GB of RAM, the 16 GB of memory is expandable. The battery has a capacity of 950 mAh. That is not enough for such a small smartphone.
In the following price comparison we show the cheapest smartphones with Android up to 3 inches. This also includes many devices with an additional physical keyboard and smartphones that can be folded down.
4 inch: Cubot King Kong Mini 2
The Cubot King Kong Mini 2 offers a 4 inch display with a resolution of 1080 x 540 pixels. Its representation is therefore sufficiently sharp even for small fonts. The smartphone is suitable for outdoor use, its edges are reinforced, and the display is protected by a tempered glass film. Despite the robust construction, it measures only 11.9 x 5.8 x 1.2 centimeters and weighs only 123 grams.
The device, which was only released in 2021, comes with Android 10. The quad-core processor with 2 GHz can fall back on 3 GB of RAM. The 32 GB memory is expandable. The main camera can display 13 megapixels, the front camera at least 8 megapixels. The battery has a capacity of 3000 mAh hours. That is a surprising amount for the slim dimensions of the Cubot King Kong Mini 2.
Here in the price comparison we show the most popular 4-inch smartphones. In addition to the Unihertz Atom XL, the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini is also the first device from a really large smartphone manufacturer. However, it cannot really be recommended as it dates back to 2012.
With the Unihertz Jelly 2 and the Cubot King Kong Mini 2 there are two representatives with 3 and 4 inches respectively, which rely on the latest mid-range hardware and with Android 10 are also state-of-the-art in terms of software. Nevertheless, such small devices are in short supply, so far no large manufacturer has ventured into this niche.
We hope that a big player will take heart and, like Sony back then, build an Android smartphone with its compact series with a small display and top hardware. It doesn’t have to be 4 inches, many buyers would also be happy about 5 inches. At least Apple seems to have recognized this and is offering a very small smartphone with high-end technology with the iPhone 12 Mini and its 5.4-inch display.